Monday, August 13, 2012

The People Behind the Massachusetts HIE

I'm back!   Sorry for the 10 day gap in blog posts, but given a limit of 168 hours in a week and the need prepare my father-in-law's home for sale in early September and ready Unity Farm for the August 19 arrival of 8 alpaca, 2 llama, and a Great Pyrenees livestockgGuardian dog, my evening writing time has been compromised.     On Thursdays I'll begin a new personal series describing our life on the farm now that cancer treatment is over - "Building Unity Farm" starts later this week.

Although August is usually a time of vacations and downtime before the post labor day acceleration of projects, this August has been filled with Massachusetts Health Information Exchange policy and technology work in preparation for the October 15, 2012 "golden spike" which will eliminate silos of healthcare data in Massachusetts by connecting numerous early adopter provider organizations via the state's HIE backbone.

I've long believed that HIE is more about psychology and personality than policy and technology.   You need the trust of the community and passionate people to make it happen.

Here's a primer on the most important people driving HIE in Massachusetts:

Manu Tandon is a unique public servant  He's the CIO of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and is more interested in making a difference than fame or fortune.   He's had a distinguished career in industry but chooses to serve the state government because he believes in the mission.   He works tirelessly, sending emails at all hours of day and night.   He's always connected and communicating with all our stakeholders inside and outside of government.   He's that rare public servant who combines political savvy, transparency, and competency.      Every stakeholder in the community trusts him and his position in government enables him to move projects forward rapidly.

Several folks are helping Manu Tandon work his magic.   John Kelly, formerly of Harvard Pilgrim, is serving an influential architecture role at EOHHS.   Venkat Jegadeesan creates the detailed specifications and requirements.   Ray Campbell, CEO of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium has helped create agreements and legal documents.

Micky Tripathi is a national treasure.   He's the CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and chair of the HIT Policy Committee's Health Information Exchange workgroup.   His domain knowledge of EHR and HIE is unique.   His ability to communicate complex policies and project details is unmatched.    The presentations that led to industry, academic and government support of the Massachusetts HIE were authored by Micky.

Laurance Stuntz is both a leader and a technologist.   He's the new Executive Director of the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) and was the architect of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network (NEHEN).   He's also trusted by all the stakeholders.   He can assemble an understandable budget with the same competency as editing a Web Services Definition Language (WSDL)  specification for an HIE interface.

Dr. Larry Garber is an informatics powerhouse, creating strategy, writing code, and implementing bold pilots.

The maturity of the standards and the incentives of meaningful use have helped accelerate HIE in Massachusetts.   The 90/10 matching funding from Medicaid was a catalyst.  But the real secret of Massachusetts momentum is the people.   It takes a village to make HIE happen and we're blessed with a superlative team that creates miracles every day.

I'm proud to be a part of it.


Thomas P. Caruso, PhD, MBA, PMP said...

Thanks for those names because I enjoy hearing about good connections. I'd like to suggest that you post recommendations about individuals to their LinkedIn profiles. For instance there is Manu Tandon's link at That might be a little more work in your evenings, that I'm sure you have little time to offer, though it may have a longer-term impact on the careers of these individuals. Though I suppose putting them in your blog notes your special association with them and gives them some notoriety considering the importance of your blog.

Mary Beth said...

I agree, Micky Tripathi is a national treasure. He has done incredible work in NH as well, albeit on a smaller scale than MA, and it's been wonderful to work with him and his colleagues at MaeHC. I'm convinced we have a sustainable, sane approach to HIE that will build a solid foundation for future changes here in the state.